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Democracy Now! Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Published December 31, 2003


Headlines
USDA Issues New Cattle Regulations
Halliburton Stripped of Iraqi Oil Contract
Two Die in Kurdish Protests in Kirkuk
Ashcroft Steps Aside in CIA Leak Investigation

A Review of 2003 With Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Katha Pollitt, Martin Espada, Michael Parenti and Aarti Shahani
As 2003 comes to a close, a small number of stories dominate the headlines and newscasts of major media outlets. The Michael Jackson and Koby Bryant cases, the Mad Cow Scare, the nine democratic candidates for president verbally assaulting one another. But there is one word that characterizes 2003 more than any other—war. The war abroad and the war here at home.

On the international front, as the Bush administration expanded its occupation and war in Afghanistan, it intensified its battle to sell a war against Iraq. The American public was bombarded with stories of the grave danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Administration officials spoke of mushroom clouds and smoking guns. In his January State of the Union address, televised across the world, President Bush accused Iraq of attempting to procure uranium for a nuclear weapons program, an accusation that was the lynchpin of the administration’s justification for war. Though the administration was eventually forced to retract the charge after former US ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson blew the whistle , the damage was done.

On March 20 at approximately 5:35am Baghdad time, the Bush Administration unleashed what it bragged was a shock and awe campaign, raining bombs and missiles down on Iraq. US forces poured across Iraq’s borders, bombing and shooting their way toward Baghdad and other cities, accompanied by cheerleading journalists, who were embedded with the forces. At the onset of the invasion, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said “One of the things that we don’t want to do is to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re going to own that country.” Dan Rather of CBS said, “Good morning Baghdad.”


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